Women Wednesday #71
Posted on 09 May 2018
“I think I have always wanted to be a pilot but I was born in the wrong body and those around me didn’t recognise my desire.” So says Lisa Norman, who must have done a lot of things right as she is now Qantas’ 787 chief pilot and was in command of the first non-stop Australia to London flight. Despite more than a passing interest, Capt. Norman never thought about flying as a career but a visit to Sydney Airport where she took in sounds and smells sparked something inside. “I loved the smell of the kerosene and I felt like an aviation nerd,” Capt. Norman said. “I came back to Melbourne and said to a friend I really like this flying thing. She said, ‘Why don’t you do it as a career’.” For Capt. Normanit was a light-bulb moment. But there were doubters who thought she was too old to get into Qantas. “I had never been told no before but I decided I want to have a go and I never wanted to be 65 and wonder what if.” Now a 29-year veteran with Qantas she has done it all, including being check and training captain on Boeing 767s, captain on Boeing 747s and A330s and now manager Boeing 787-9 Introduction Flight Operations. Never let your own doubts hold you back!
In Colombia’s mountainous northwest, three hours’ walk from the closest town over paths haunted by guerrillas, lies the village of La Puria. It’s home to around a hundred indigenous Emberá Katío people. In their language, ẽberá can mean human being,indigenous person, or man. But there are no men here. Colombia’s decades-long civil war has eroded La Puria. Some men were recruited by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) or the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s two largest leftist guerrilla groups. Others were victims of the conflict, as both guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries made use of violent tactics—including kidnapping, setting land mines, and drug trafficking. Now women, children, and teen mothers are the only ones left in La Puria, says Iván Valencia, a Colombian photojournalist who spent months documenting the town in 2017. Where men once ventured into the rainforest to hunt and gather food, young women now take the lead—wielding machetes with their babies strapped to their backs. The current chief is a 26-year-old mother of four. The peals of playing kids ring through the houses their mothers have built themselves. For the first time since the 1960s, the conflict is over. Though in 2016 a civil referendum narrowly rejected a peace treaty reached by FARC leaders and the Colombian government, a revised agreement was ratified months later. And while the road to true peace is uncertain, the cease-fire still holds. These women and children will be rebuilding their community and they will make it as beautiful as horrific the past was.
Though Indigenous people have long fought for representation on the local, state, and national levels, America has never had an Indigenous governor. Paulette Jordan, who served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 2014 until February 2018, is aiming to change that. She’s challenging fellow contenders A.J. Balukoff and Troy Minton for the Democratic candidacy, and then she plans to go toe-to-toe with whomever wins the Republican primary. Jordan is facing an uphill battle: Idaho voters haven’t elected a Democratic governor since 1990, and the GOP currently occupies the majority of Idaho’s political field. At 38, after serving just two terms as a state representative, Jordan is not a conventional gubernatorial candidate. Until she resigned to dedicate herself full-time to running for governor, she was the only left-leaning legislator from North Idaho to survive the 2016 Trump wave that took out even the most established Democrats in the area. She’s a progressive, but declines comparisons to Bernie Sanders; she’s a woman of colour, running to become the US’s first Native American governor, in a state that is 82% white. Her running could be history in the making and we’re excited to see what comes from it. Win or lose, we know Paulette is going to continue to make a difference.
Have a positive week,
Love Neon Moon x
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